The Pleasure Book was a guide to the SCA. 40 years ago, there was no internet, there was no corpus of shared knowledge handed down from knight to squire. The Pleasure Book provided information on how to participate in the SCA without having to travel sometimes hundreds of miles to seek out a mentor. That is the way the SCA was when I started. We would travel from Albuquerque to Phoenix and seek out information. The Pleasure Book helped other people learn from articles written by a group of authors willing to share their knowledge.
This book was the start of Raymond’s Quiet Press and 40 years later our focus has changed over the years but the name remains the same - Raymond’s Quiet Press
Viking art is based on the abstract animal forms from the migration period about 400 AD. The animals were contorted, writhing snakes and beasts whose actual shape is often barely recognizable. My favorate term from a fellow SCA’er was “Weaselopes” for the style of artwork. Such designs were applied to objects in daily use, for example swords, buckles, belt mounts, belt tips and brooches.
The Borre style dated from about 840 to 980, and is named after the bridle mounts from Borre in Norway. There are three main elements. A ring-chain motif: a two-stranded braid bound by a ring. A type of gripping beast with a ribbon body whose claws clasp the edge. A backward-looking animal with spirals on its hips and a pigtail.
The Jellinge style dated from about 870-1000. It is named for a silver cup from Jelling, Denmark. Each animal has a ribbon-like body that is outlined. Its head with a long pigtail and the upper jaw is extended. The creature was based on gripping beast found at Borre.
The Mammen style dated from about 960-1020. Animals now have fuller bodies instead of just lines. We still see spirals on the hips The new features are tendrils.
The Ringerike style dated from about 980-1090. Now thrusting tendrils tend to dominate the animals that they surround. The Anglo-Saxon artwork seems to have been the influence for this development.
Named for wood carvings at Urnes church, Norway. A high, round relief but as thin as a knife edge, and then a copy of the same pattern in a flat pattern. The motifs are a slender animal with only one front and back leg, and an animal head. The forms are very graceful, with wide loops.
KING AND QUEEN. The title of King is won, by frighting in a Crown Tourney. Crown Tourneys are held at regular intervals, depending on the Kingdom. The victor is King by right of arms, but cannot succeed himself. The Queen is the lady whose favor the king was carrying when he won the Crown Tourney
DUKE AND DUCHESS. Fighters and consorts who have served as the crown twice.
COUNT AND COUNTESSES. Fighters and consorts who have served as crown once.
KNIGHTS AND MASTERS-AT-ARMS. Fighters who have received recognition for their fighting ability and for courtly accomplishments. Knights wear a white belt and a gold chain; Masters wear a white belt over one shoulder, called a baldric. White belts are reserved for these men and women to wear.
MASTERS AND MISTRESSES OF THE LAUREL. Artisians who have been honored for achievement in arts and sciences. They are entitled to wear a gold medallion having a green laurel wreath.
MASTERS AND MISTRESSES OF THE PELICAN. Members who have been honored for their service to the society as a whole or to the Kingdom. They are entitled to a medallion showing a pelican wounding itself, to feed its young.
MASTERS AND MISTRESSES OF DEFENSE. Members are considered the equal of his or her peers with the basic weapons of rapier and/or cut-and-thrust combat.
You'll probably pick a name fitting to your culture, although there are exceptions. Crusaders, Vikings and Mongols brought home names from a variey of places. Your first name is most personal, and is largely up to you and your imagination. People often choose first names that describe their personalities, that have symbolic meaning, or simply sound nice. Some people join knowing just what they want to be called, perhaps an ancestral name, or one they always wish they had been given. Others try out several names before taking a permanent name. If you need help, library reference departments have books that can tell you what names mean and foreign or ancient forms of them. The web is also a good resource for this information.
There are a number of traditions to follow for surnames, and you can use more than one, either together, or as alternatives. Hereditary family names were passed on by some noble families as early was 1000 AD, but most of our ancestors didn't receive family names until several hundred years later. Provincial Danes resisted the idea until World War I and Icelanders still don't have them. Your surname, or names, are more likely to describe you as a individual, than your entire family.
While trying to decide on a permanent Society name, you might consider the names that describe you:
1) geographically. Historically, this would be the name of the farm, town or province you, or your ancestors, came from. Examples are: av Gotland; av Dverell; Lindholdt. These days it can also be the pet name you've given your house or apartment: of Woodsholme; of Wizardskeep.
2) by a characteristic or achievement. You have to be careful with these, or you may emphasize something that would be best forgotten. Examples, good and bad are: the Quiet; the Far-Travelled; Silvertongue; Goatsbeard; the Gross; Silverhair: the Improbable.
3) by your profession, either modern or in the Society. This isn't particularly common, as many of us have professions which aren't mediaeval, or which change frequently. Two examples are: "the Printer" and "the Sarabite"
4) by social group. The leaders of many households use their household name as their surname, and sometimes all so as a show of unity. Examples are: of the Blackwater; Van Dag; of Domensque; of Abstranon; of Drachenhalle.
5) symbolically, or from fantasy. This offers the most freedom of expression, as you can choose names with obscure meanings or literary referenes, or which simply sound nice. Examples are; Steorra of AEfen (evening star); Ankestjerne (anchored to a star); Hlio Songrene (evergreen hillside).
6) by parents or grandparents. This was common in all cultures, and each language has its own forms. Some names referring to parents are: Jenssen or Jensdottir (Norse); AElfreding (Saxon); Dominquez (Spanish); Rodriques (Portuguese); MacGregor - for a son, NickGregor - for a daughter (Scots).
Now you've got a half-dozen names to choose from, and you and always make up more, or translate them into other languages. Decide which ones fit the kind of personality you want to portray, which ones sound the best together, then try them out on your friends and see if they can pronounce them. Later you'll see how many new ways the scribes can find to spell it.
If you want to fully participate in SCA events you will need a Membership. Benefits include
The ability to hold office
The ability to compete in Crown/Coronet Tournaments
Discounted entry fees at some events
Sustaining and International members receive their Kingdom's newsletter and can subscribe to additional publications.
Memberships in the United States run $45.00 for a year. Associate and Family memberships are also available to members with larger households.
The easiest way to join is to go to:
Then select the membership selection
You can also call the Member Services Office M-T 9am to 4 pm Pacific Time at 800-789-7486 or 408-263-9305
You can contact them by mail at
Member Services Office
Society for Creative Anachronism
P.O. Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036-0789
To find your local group:
Select the New to the SCA selection and then from that web page select the find your group selection. You can select your State, Canadian Providence, or Country and see if there is a local group near you!
Foreign memberships are also available, but can vary by your country. You can also add printed monthly kingdom newsletters, Quarterly publications include Board proceedings, The Compleat Anachronist and Tournaments Illuminated.
I will try to explain who we are and what we are doing. We are part of the Current Middle Ages, a loosely-knit group of people trying to recreate Mediaeval culture and ceremonies. Several thousand people around the world are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
What’s an Anachronism.
An anachronism is a tradition which has outlived it’s original purpose, but which survived just because it’s a lot of fun. That’s probably the best description of our group, since you can make anything you want from it. For some it’s a means of serious research into Mediaeval culture, by trying to re-learn the skills, knowledge and life-style of our ancestors. For others it’s a hobby, a way of relaxing after a normal (“mundane”) day, and an excuse to pursue interests an crafts they never found time for before. For many of us, it’s the most interesting, continuous costume party we’ve ever been to. A few members joined with an interest in history, drama, folklore, but most of us found them dull as traditionally studied.
Who’s that guy with the crown?
He’s the King. Like most Mediaeval Kings, he holds his authority for Right of Arms. Within the SCA the world is divided into kingdoms, and every few months the fighters in each area hold a Tournament to choose the next King. The winner of the Tourney, after a properly regal coronation, reigns over his subjects until a new King is chosen. Each Kingdom is comprised of local groups, which are known as Shires, Cantons, Colleges, Baronies and Principalities, depending on their size.
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Definitely. Fighting is the noisiest and, for those coming to their first event, the most noticeable activitiy in the Society. However many, if not most, of our members have never lifted a sword, and are interested in the many other aspects of Mediaeval life. Each local SCA group has a Mistress or Master of the Arts and Sciences, and they are responsible for encouraging and advising people who are interested in historic arts and advising people who are interested in historic arts and technology. Mediaeval arts would include weaving, stained glass, costuming, calligraphy, illumination, music, dance, story-telling, writing, and cooking. Ancient sciences are brewing, herbalogy, printing, armour-making, and contructing a wide variety of early machines, everything from looms to siege engines.
If you would like to study any of these subjects, talk with your Arts and Science officer. We try and arrange classes in whatever skills people show interest in, and newcomers are encouraged to attend these smaller, more informal gatherings. If a number of people show interest in skill in one area, the Arts and Sciences officers may form a Guild or just have regular meetings of sharing and encouragement.
More information on your local groups meetings and activities can be found at
How should I act?
With courtesy and politeness, of course, are you are now a member of the Aristocracy of the Current Middle Ages. In time you will learn the formal titles some people have, but in the meantime just call everyone “My Lord” or “My Lady”, as fellow members of the nobility. And you can relax and be yourself, as we are not acting out roles that don’t’ fit us, but merely becoming the kind of person we might be, in a Mediaeval culture. Stroll across the Tourney grounds or the Revel and join us in the Current Middle Ages.